5 Ways to Improve Ovulation

5 Ways to Improve Ovulation

By Idries Abdur-Rahman, M.D., FACOG

 

Okay, we already discussed five ways for men to boost their sperm counts so it is only fair that we give the ladies their equal time and discuss five things that you can do to improve ovulation. Ovulation is the process of releasing an egg from the ovary allowing it to be fertilized by a sperm in the fallopian tube hopefully resulting in pregnancy. While every woman’s monthly cycle is different and every woman’s ovulation pattern is different, ovulation, in general, occurs mid-cycle meaning halfway between the first day of your last period and the first day of your next period. Put another way, if there are 26 days between your periods, you likely ovulate around day 13. One of the most common causes for female infertility is irregular ovulation so let’s talk about some things that you can do to improve your ovulation:

1). Figure out if you are ovulating and if so when:

The first step to improving your ovulation is to figure out if you are ovulating and if so when and how often. You only have 24-48 hours after ovulation to fertilize that egg, so time is definitely of the essence. So, how can you track your ovulation:

  • Basal Body temperature monitoring: Your basal body temperature (BBT) is your temperature first thing in the morning. You want to check your temperature orally as soon as you wake up and roughly the same time every day. Your BBT will increase by 0.5-1 degree Fahrenheit the day after ovulation and remain elevated until your period starts.
  • Monitor your cervical mucus: You can monitor your cervical mucus either by wiping with a clean piece of toilet paper or by inserting a finger into the vagina in the direction of the cervix. Mucus that is clear (watery or sticky) is associated with your fertile time before ovulation. Mucus that is creamy and white occurs after ovulation and continues until your next period. If the mucus is creamy and white, you have probably ovulated.
  • Home ovulation kits: Home ovulation kits are available over-the-counter and they measure the level of a hormone called LH (luteinizing hormone). The levels of LH surge 2-3 days before ovulation producing a positive test result. A positive result confirms that you are ovulating and lets you know your most fertile period.
  • Blood testing in your doctor’s office: Your doctor can perform a blood test for another hormone called progesterone, progesterone levels peak in the 3-7 days after ovulation. Generally the higher the progesterone level, the better. Most doctors will perform this test on the 21st day of your cycle though the timing may be altered depending upon the length of your cycles.

 

2). Weight Loss

Yup, you just have to do it! Weight loss is important for a myriad of health reasons including improving fertility and ovulation. The heavier you are, the more estrogen your body produces because fat tissue actually makes estrogen. The higher your estrogen levels, the less likely you are to spontaneously ovulation. The more weight you lose (keeping your body within a healthy weight range of course), the better for your overall health and the higher your chances of ovulation. Having said that, studies have shown that losing as little as 5-10 pounds can have a huge effect on improving ovulation.

 

3). Eat for Ovulation

Yes, there are actually foods that can improve egg health and your chances of regular ovulation.

  • Lentils and beans: Forget beans, beans good for the heart, how about beans, beans good for the ovaries. Beans and lentils are rich in iron and an iron deficiency can lead to reduced ovulation.
  • Nuts and in particular Brazil nuts: Brazil and other nuts are high in selenium which acts as an anti-oxidant, reducing the levels of free radicals that in particular can damage immature eggs.
  • Leafy, green vegetables: These foods are rich in folate and folate is critical to the synthesis of DNA in new cells including maturing egg cells. So be sure to stock up on the salads.
  • Cut the caffeine and booze: Sad but true, both have been found to negatively affect egg health and ovulation.

4). Add the right vitamins and supplements

The best way get adequate vitamins and supplements is usually a balanced diet but there are a few vitamins and supplements that have been found to definitely improve ovulation including:

  • DHEA: 50mg daily of DHEA supplements taken daily for a period of three months have been found in studies to improve egg health and quality.
  • CoQ-10: Co-enzyme Q10 is both an anti-oxidant and a source of energy for dividing cells. Studies have found that supplementing with up to 600mg daily can improve both egg health and ovulation.
  • Zinc: Zic regulates hormone levels and improves egg health. Studies have found that taking 25-50mg per day of zinc for at least 3 months improves egg health and reserve.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids and fish oil: Getting a minimum of 300mg of DHA daily has been found to improve both egg health and ovulation.

5). Prescribed medications

If lifestyle changes, vitamins, and supplements aren’t enough, there are prescribed medications that also improve ovulation including:

  • Metformin: Metformin or Glucophage, a medication initially prescribed for diabetics, has been found to improve ovulation especially in obese women and women with PCOS.
  • Clomid: Clomiphene Citrate or Clomid, is a medication that is taken for 3-5 days a month. Clomid increases the levels of two specific hormones (FSH and LH) that are important in egg development, ovulation, and hormone production after pregnancy,
  • Gonadotropins: Gonadotropins are injections that also improve egg development, ovulation, and hormone production after pregnancy.

 

Curious about what you can do to improve your partner’s sperm quality and quantity? Check it out right HERE!

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